Jefsey Morfin's Progress Report on ICANN Reform
Date: Monday May 20 2002, @06:05PM
Topic: ICANN Staff and Structure

Jefsey Morfin has posted a sort of personal progress report on the ICANN reform process, both in and especially outside of ICANN, at (html), also available in a tidy .pdf.

This commentary is of interest as it represents the views of a European technologist who has been deeply involved in the ICANN process. As such it instructs on many levels, most notably what it assumes to be the facts, and what it asserts should be our goals. Neither of these corresponds exactly to the views we tend to hear in the US, and neither is at all close to what we tend to hear from ICANN.

What's different? First, the idea that the ICANN problem is most usefully considered by asking what serves the needs of (reified?) 'networks'. Second, the concentration on the view of telecos as suppliers and customers. Third, the willingness to bring the ITU/T in as a counterweight to a reformed, decentralized and thinner ICANN. Fourth, the belief that a consensus on these ideas is forming. Fifth, a greater comfort level with the active participation of governments -- so long as none (and especially not the US!) is dominant. And, sixth, the assertion that

Rumors are that final orientations could be taken very early by the Board of Directors (this very week). The analysis is that it would commit the Directors to stay as a united block, while they still perceive the Reform Committee as a non disputed reference. This would protect it from too many options and pressures which might develop later on. This seems premature since none of the called upon Government has responded yet.

What's familiar? Recognition that the needs of civil society groups need greater prominence, if perhaps a rather different take on how to achieve it. And, abhorrence of the idea that root server operators should be centralized under ICANN:

This proposition means the delegation of the management of the international data network name space, a common good of all of humanity, and the transfer of a key service from a stable, diversified and international solution, which has been working for more than a decade, to a disputed corporation, with no technical experience. It is seen by many as a an attempt to preserve a status-quo to prevent significant and innovative competition..

That such a proposition might have been suggested and is still considered, is even considered as an immediate and as a structural threat to the technical and therefore on the commercial stability of the networks. The uniqueness of the root servers system, under a single operator, hence under the ultimate control of a single Government, raises questions not only about national security and independence and commercial and political intelligence, but also about the risks of a single point of hacking, the load and the delays in accessing the network, the possibility to develop local innovation and applications.

The potential impact on the web image of a root failure without the back-up of secondary root server systems is feared by Internet operators, large Telcos involved in UMTS projects. and Governments engaged in information society programs.

Worth a read. And note - English is not his native language. Would we could all write that well in his.

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Re: Jefsey Morfin's Progress Report on ICANN Refor
by observer (observer) on Tuesday May 21 2002, @11:28PM (#6471)
User #3377 Info
This report is more a report on what Governement and top Telecommunications people feel than on what Government already think. This is by an European observer but Asian and African too are also very attentive not to have their digital economy and foreign affairs directed by the ICANN lawyers under the supervision of the DoC.

What is extremely well seen is that Stuart has killed the ICANN and the current vision of the Internet in threatning to manage by himself the root server system and in having no one calling him "mad". As if a G.W.Bush's secretary proposed - and was seriously considered by White House staff - to fly an atomic bomber. I think NATO would be reconsidered by serveral Governments ...
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